Posts Tagged ‘C.W.LaSart’

It’s Coffin Hop Time Again! Who Wants Some Free Shit?

Those of you who are familiar with my blog are used to my snarky and hopefully amusing posts, but I think I will take a break from that for this most hallowed of holidays. No worries, there’s sure to be plenty of sarcasm in the future, but how about we make this easy today. Let’s just give some free shit away, shall we? I thought you might like that. All I ask you to do is sign up for the blog and leave a comment below telling me you did it. Yep, that’s it. For those who are already following the blog, just leave a comment stating as such. When the week is over and the ghastly ghouls are walking the streets in search of candy, I will chose one lucky winner out of a hat (high tech as always) to receive my lovely Coffin Hop Grand Prize including: A signed copy of my premiere collection Ad Nauseam, a signed copy of a limited edition chapbook (ONLY 500 IN EXISTENCE) published by none other than Cemetery Dance, one copy of the Exclusive Coffin Hop Teaser for next year’s much anticipated Death By Drive-In anthology in the e-format of your choice, one sweetly spooky Halloween sock monkey, a collection of classic horror movies, and many more spectacular goodies! For the rest of you who don’t win, as There Can Only Be One, here’s a special treat, something I very rarely do… A free short story. I’m adamantly against posting free stories on blogs but what can I say, I guess I just got caught up in the spirit of my favorite holiday! So without further adieu, here for your reading entertainment, I give you RETIRED GODS. I hope you enjoy it. And don’t forget to subscribe to my blog and comment for a chance to win all the goodies. HAPPY HALLOWEEN MY FRIENDS.

 

RETIRED GODS

 

 

           

The old gods were bored. They gathered in the soft sunlight that filtered through the frosted glass windows of the common room in Windy Brooks Rest Home, as they did every day. Some played cards and some watched television, while others stared off into space, lost in their own minds with little hope of return. Like any group of seniors, they spoke of the old days, reminisced about a time when the world was much younger and simpler. This was where they chose to pass the time while they waited. Endless days of waiting; for lunch, then dinner, to watch their shows, to take their meds. Mostly, they waited to die.

Zeus sat at a square table in the corner, his gnarled fingers laboring as he slowly shuffled a deck of cards. Palsy was starting to get the better of him, but as long as he could manage, there would be a game. Hera sat to his left, still beautiful to him after all these years. She smiled and nodded, occasionally reaching out to pat his hand when he spoke, showing her affection. He paid her demeanor little heed, aware that she nodded not out of agreement with anything he said, but because of dementia. Hera was forever trapped in a time before mighty Olympus had fallen, destruction brought about by the Heaven that was a promise made by the Nazarene. Sometimes Zeus envied his wife.

Poseidon sat directly to Zeus’ right, a chair pulled away from the table to accommodate his wheelchair. He sat slumped and mostly lifeless, except for his eyes. Though he had ceased speaking months before, Poseidon still watched the game, his faded blue eyes tracking their hands as the hours passed. Zeus finished his painful shuffle and laid the deck carefully on the table.

“Cut the cards, Hades.”

Hades sat directly across from Zeus, his gaze never leaving the arthritic hands as they worked the cards. He still doesn’t trust me. Zeus was amused. After all these years, he still expects me to cheat him.  Hades cut the cards and the game began.

Young nurses in bright scrubs adorned with cartoon characters drifted in and out of the room, silently performing their tasks with bland expressions. Windy Brooks was not a rest home strictly for the gods, and they paid no more attention to the conversations of this particular group than any other. The young have a way of tuning out the old, dismissing all their conversation as ramblings of senility. Still, they were cared for competently.

Hades stopped arranging his hand and cocked his head to the side, his bulbous nose turned up to sniff the air.

“Do you smell that?”

“I believe Poseidon has shit himself again.” Zeus replied dryly.

“Not that.” Hades waved a hand dismissively. “The other smell. How can you not smell it? It’s death! I smell death! The old man in Room 207 has died.”

Zeus shrugged.

“What a bastard he was during his life. He was a thief and a cheat. How I long to collect that soul and drag it across the River Styx to serve me in the underworld!” Hades eyes were bright with wistful excitement. Deaths around the rest home were frequent, sometimes several a week, and they never failed to send Hades into a fit of longing. The knowledge that he no longer ruled the Underworld was painful.

With a triumphant cry, Aphrodite rushed the table, flinging her gown wide and gyrating like an ancient showgirl. Only Hermes took notice, reaching a gnarled hand over to squeeze her pendulous breast, earning a rebuke from Zeus.

“Hermes! Leave your sister alone. Incest has been out of fashion for centuries now.” Chided, but not ashamed, Hermes slunk off to the couch where he pouted in front of the television set. Aphrodite continued to bounce and flop her deflated boobs at the card players for a moment, and then she ran off, cackling like the toothless hag that she was. An orderly disappeared down the hall in pursuit, his gentle voice fading as he coaxed her into abandoning her naked revelry.

Zeus sighed and returned his attention to his cards. Sometimes he wondered if he and Hades were the only ones with any of their faculties. He laid a card and waited for his brother to counter. The daylight was fading and soon it would be dinnertime. He hoped they would have Salisbury steak and mashed potatoes tonight. It was his favorite.

Dionysus raised his frail voice in argument with one of the staff. She was trying to walk away, but he gripped her elbow. This altercation was another daily occurrence, one of the ways they passed the time at Windy Brooks. Dionysus wanted a bottle of wine. Dionysus always wanted wine.

“Just get me my wine!” He insisted, his face flushed with anger.

The nurse shook her head and pried at his fingers. “The doctors’ orders state that you may have one glass of wine every evening, and not until after dinner.”

“Don’t you know who I am?” The old man whined, clearly near tears.

“Of course I know who you are, Mr. Jones.” She turned on her heal and swiftly left the common room. This same scene took place every night. You could almost set your watch by it. Giving up on his wine, Dionysus turned his attention toward Zeus for yet another predictable conversation.

“Hey, Zeus!”

“Yes, Dionysus.” Zeus replied calmly.

“Why don’t we go find the Old Norse Gods? Or the Egyptians? That Ra was one powerful guy. Maybe if we all banded together, we could pool what’s left of our powers…” he trailed off as Zeus shook his head sadly.

“They’re gone, Dion. All gone.” Zeus reigned in his frustration with sheer will and not a small amount of pity. “I have told you many times. They are all dead now. There is no help for us anymore.”

Dionysus looked deflated for a moment, then his face brightened and he held up one crooked finger triumphantly, his mouth opened to speak.

“No Dion,” Zeus cut him off, “The Hindu Gods won’t help us. They are still very powerful, but we have tried contacting them. They don’t wish to trifle with relics such as us. I suppose that they too will weaken as time goes by and they become forgotten. It’s the way of the world, my son.”

Zeus patted Dionysus on the back, but he just stared out the window, his lined face stricken with misery. This also happened every evening.

The glorious days of Olympus were long gone, but the gods hadn’t gone quietly into submission. They had been vain and powerful at first, enjoying centuries of play on Earth and in the Heavens, watching and meddling in the existence of mortals at will, often ruining lives for little more than sport. So feared were they that their powers fed on the emotions of their subjects, both adoration and terror, growing stronger every time a mortal turned his gaze to Olympus in prayer. It was a good time for the old gods, and they had foolishly believed it would be such until the end of time. Many wars were fought to preserve their territory and way of life, battles often sparked by jealousy and vanity. In the end, they were defeated by something that had never occurred to them. Love.

A Jewish man from Nazareth quietly walked the lands, encouraging all the people of the Earth, both before and after his death, to abandon their old gods and embrace his own. His message was powerful. He promised love and redemption, something that people desperately wanted after dealing for so long with the fickle gods of old. Their subjects responded, pulled by the power of a compassionate God, never petty or spiteful like the ones they worshipped. No matter how hard Zeus and the others tried, however much they spread punishments to the mortals under their rule, the people slowly slipped away from them.

Other gods met their destruction by Muhammad’s message, and some were simply pushed aside in favor of science. Men would continue to kill in the name of a God, but not their names. Not anymore. They became stories, myths, and their strength slowly dwindled over the centuries, rendering them little more than mortals. With their powers went immortality and they eventually aged, becoming the shells of gods that now sat in the common room of the home, playing cards and losing their minds. The only magic they had left came from scores of middle school students who studied them briefly in class and for a moment found them cool. This was no life for a former deity.

“Zeus?” Hades soft voice intruded on his reverie, bringing him back to the present. He found his mind wandering more often lately and it scared him more than he cared to admit. Zeus could handle the infirmities of the flesh that plagued him daily, but was terrified of losing his mind. Whatever else awaited him, he wanted to meet it with his wit and intelligence intact. “ZEUS!”

Hades pointed to the right where Poseidon slumped, his head back and eyes unblinking, jaw slack. He had quit breathing again and the rest of the gods formed a semicircle of concern around their fallen comrade. All eyes fell to Zeus, pleading silently for him to fix the situation. He closed his own eyes for a moment and dug deep in his being, harnessing whatever pool of strength and power he still possessed, before he laid his hand gently on Poseidon’s unmoving chest. With a grunt of exertion, Zeus felt the hairs on his arm crackle as a subdued bolt of blue lightning passed through his hand and into the heart below it. Poseidon’s body bucked lightly and everyone gasped, watching in wide-eyed anticipation of whether or not it would work this time.

After several agonizing seconds, during which Zeus was sure he had failed to revive his brother, Poseidon drew a harsh breath and coughed, his eyes bleary and unfocused. As the fit passed, he looked around at the concerned faces that hovered around him. With a scowl, his eyes darted to Zeus, and to everyone’s amusement, his shaky hand raised and shot Zeus the world’s most pathetic bird. Zeus smiled and shuffled the cards, happy Poseidon had come back from the brink, but not certain that he would have it in him next time.

The mood in the room inevitably turned from amused to somber, as the gods considered the enormity of what would have happened if Zeus had failed. Soon the questions began.

“What’s going to happen to us?”

“Where will we go when we die?”

“What do we do?”

Questions barraged Zeus from every side. Only silently nodding Hera and the mute Poseidon refused to join in the verbal assault. They had relied on Zeus for the entirety of their long existence and still looked to him for answers to questions that both confused and terrified them. Answers he did not have. Frustrated by his impotence in the matter, Zeus threw up his hands, scattering cards about the table. His thunderous scowl, a part of his former glory, caused them all to cringe away, fearful of the mighty lightning bolt he no longer possessed. “I DON’T KNOW!”

Zeus’s shout earned him a reproachful look from a passing nurse, as he painfully gathered his deck of cards together. The other gods huddled in the corner, causing Zeus to regret his outburst. He didn’t mean to scare them, but DAMNIT! He didn’t know everything. His days of omnipotence were long gone, and he knew no better than the rest of them what fate awaited the gods on the other side of death. How could any man know such a thing? All men went to their deaths, unknowing and alone. It was the fear of all the elderly, so close to their time but unsure of the outcome. Zeus was no longer a god, just an old man, fearfully waiting for his end.

Zeus laid the deck in the middle of the table. They had time for just one more game before dinner. “Cut the cards, Hades.”

Hades cut the cards and the game began.

 

Now Back to the Hop With You!!! http://coffinhop.wordpress.com/ 

And if you’re really enjoying the Hop and want to help support the 2013 release of Death By Drive-In, featuring 22 of our very own Coffin Hoppers, visit http://www.cafepress.com/coffinhop for some cool swag with all proceeds going directly to the release of that charity anthology!

My First Audio Edition, And It’s NSFW!

Yesterday I stumbled upon my first ever audio edition of one of my stories! I was so excited and couldn’t wait to listen to the Amazon sample of it, but due to the nature of my work, I had to wait until the kids were in bed. Good thing I did. I called Lou upstairs and pressed play. My smile must’ve been a mile wide. Within seconds we were both laughing our asses off, clutching our stomachs and poking at one another. You see, the only story of mine to be recorded in audio to date is my erotic horror tale, The Somnambulist, recently released by Eirelander Publishing. It’s not a funny story. Not in the slightest, yet we both laughed like loons.

A little backstory on this one, The Somnambulist was originally written to be included in my collection, Ad Nauseam, but the publisher felt it was pushing the erotica envelope a bit too much and cut it. A friend in the HWA put out a call for erotic horror and I figured What the hell? The people at Eirelander were awesome to deal with and they liked it quite a bit, having only one request, Could I add a little more erotica? Maybe to the beginning? I readily agreed and the added scene is what you get when you click that sample button. 🙂

It’s hard to relate the mixture of pride, excitement and utter embarrassment I felt to hear that story read aloud. It’s so… erotic! The whole experience was a bit surreal. Anyway, here it is and I hope you will give the sample a listen. If it tickles your, um, fancy… feel free to download, or go for the kindle or nook editions. Without further ado, I give you my first forray into erotica!

My Readers Are Rockstars!

I’m not one to post every good review I get all over the place. I read them. ALL of them. And I certainly appreciate them all, but I doubt you want to read reviews every damned day. So here’s some highlights of my recent reviews, what others have thought of Ad Nauseam:

“This is C.W. LaSart’s debut book, and let me just say that it is one hell of a debut. Having followed her other short stories published in previous anthologies, I was beyond excited to dig into a collection consisting entirely of her own work. And I was not let down. LaSart is quite new to the scene, but she certainly doesn’t write like it–I will not be surprised if I soon see her name on a Bestseller’s list.” Max on Amazon
 
“If you want a great collection of short horror, look no further. LaSart is the real deal. The highlights for me are the amazing opener ‘Simple Pleasures’; both hilarious and gruesome,’The Hand that Feeds’, which has one of the roughest, most intense sequences I’ve read in recent years, and ‘Widow’ which expertly mixes Cronenberg body horror with John Waters style suburban satire. I haven’t been this satisfied reading a horror collection by one author since Joe Hill’s ’20th Century Ghosts’. Pick it up. ” Escoe Allen on Amazon
 
“I can’t wait for C.W. to write another short story collection or novel. This book just wasn’t enough. ” Witchreader on Amazon
 
“C.W. LaSart uses evocative prose with mind-numbingly gruesome description. Every story in this book is worth reading. There is not a one that I did not like. I highly recommend Ad Nauseam. Warning: not for the weak at heart. This is one disgusting read. ” Abby from Hobbes End Reviews
 
“I highly recommend this one for fans of Clive Barker and AMC’s American Horror Story. So, don’t be afraid… you know you want it. ” Jack Babalon author of High Midnight
 
“Each tale is superbly written. Each has a wonderful flow from the opening paragraph to the last sentence. My personal favorites in the collection were Micah’s Muse, Bone Phone, Carnality and Angel Lust. All three evoked a different response from my psyche – which is exactly what a story should do.If you like your horror more on the extreme side, you cannot go wrong with this collection. I predict that C. W. LaSart will be a name that in the not so distant future will be compared to both Richard Laymon and Ramsey Campbell. ” Kat Yares from Amazon
 
 
“From the very first story I read in her collection, I was hooked on this author’s unique style. “Simple Pleasures” was engaging, fun, and downright creepy. “Widow” had me itching until the very end. Both were my favorites, and both were genuinely scary and yes, extreme!I look forward to reading more from C. W., and trust me, once you start reading some of her work, you’re sure as &*^%$# going to come back for more as well!Two bony thumbs up, and a special evil grin from the jester for this fine, fine collection. Love it!!
–Charles Day, Author of THE LEGEND OF THE PUMPKIN THIEF, THE PLAN, and BURN
 
 
“One of the exciting new voices in horror, C.W. LaSart is most definitely “the stuff”. Dark, gory, horrifying stories like Clive Barker and Big Steve used to write. Some of these stories are like H.P. Lovecraft on bath salts. Some of them are like King in full-on IT mode. Brilliantly encapsulated, finely wrought and completely unforgettable. If you like your horror gruesome, disturbing and full of sex and death, C.W. LaSart has your medicine. Drink it down, baby!” Axel Howerton author of Hot Sinatra
 
“I picked up a copy of Ms. LaSart’s Ad Nauseum via the Horror Writer’s Association Bram Stoker Award® 2012 recommendation sheet. I read some of her work prior to reading this collection, so I knew what to expect. She has a vivid writing style that holds your attention. These stories did not disappoint, engaging and wrapping me up in their horror. She has the unique ability of combining the sick with the sicker, making for gruesome yet enjoyable tales. While not every story worked for me, the vast majority of them were outstanding, and I would highly recommend this collection to anyone who enjoys the genre.” Ken Cain author of These Old Tales
 
“Simply put, if you’re a horror fan you absolutely can’t afford to pass by this wonderful collection. It’s rare to come across such a great new talent in the horror field, but CW Lasart is poised to make waves and break through big time. Her writing style and skill are well beyond most of her peers and her imagination seems wired to conjure up some really great things. I can’t recommend this one highly enough.” Bryan Hall author of The Vagrant
 
“Best single-author collection I’ve read in 2012. I look forward to reading more of this author’s work. ” A. Ludens from Amazon
 
“the imagination of the author is vast and obviously very active creating for interesting reads about things that I don’t see normally in stories.” Jessica Tate from Goodreads.
 
“Sister Alice’s Suitor grossed me out beyond belief! It wasn’t even the necrophilia that grossed me out so much. It was her delivery. I truly thought I was going to throw up. Some really gross stories in this book!” Lea from Goodreads
 
 
 
 

Don’t Call Me Indie.

This is not a self-pub bashing post. It’s not a post bitching about spam, or poor editing, or even responding negatively to reviewers. It’s not about the myriad of shitty books being pushed out, half-finished and cluttering our amazon page every time we go looking for a good read. Those topics have been covered about five millions times~today alone. No, this post is definitely a rant, but not about what you might think. I would say that this post is just for the writers out there, but come to think of it, it’s for readers as well. Let’s face it, the shit going down in the “indie” scene these days has just as much impact on you, the fan, reader, purchaser of our work, as it does the writers themselves.

Few things irritate me as much as being referred to as an “indie writer”. I am not an indie writer. I publish through small press. Ten years ago, I would’ve been considered an indie writer, but these days that term refers to the self publishing set, of which I am not a member. Many of my friends are self-pubbers and I belong to a ton of facebook groups that are full of them. I have nothing against self publishing. Do what you want. I don’t judge. So though I do intend for this post to rile people, I hope that it will be for the right reasons. There are some shitty practices afoot in the indie publishing scene and it’s high time someone answered for them.

We’ll start with the “liking and tagging” parties. These aren’t really a big deal and are pretty harmless. I have had a peek at the process and find it tedious and without benefit, but hey, whatever floats your boat. I highly doubt that anyone has ever purchased a book based on the number of “likes” it has, but if you have the extra time, knock yourself out buttercup. Just don’t expect me to join in.

BUT, it has recently been brought to my attention that there are authors out there that actually pay companies for 5 star reviews. Are you fucking kidding me? Seriously? What kind of dishonest bastard does that? Forget how unscrupulous it is for a company to offer such a service, but how desperate are you to use it? If your work is so unpopular that you need to hire people to leave fake 5 star reviews, it’s time to hang it up. You are not a writer. You are a hack. You should be ashamed of yourself and your desperation.

Wait, it gets better. I recently found a writer’s group on facebook that made my blood boil. Alongside the usual “liking and tagging” functions (like I said, harmless) they also get together to give each other reviews. This alone is not uncommon, indies have been trading reviews for many years now (something I don’t agree with unless the reviews are honest), but let me share with you their mission statement:

NOTE: To take part in the REVIEW EXCHANGE, upload a preview of your book the files section of the group. Be sure to post the URL to your books amazon page as the first comment after you upload your file. THEN, start reading other authors previews and do reviews for them. If you can’t do a 5 star review, don’t do one. We want 5 good reviews for each author to help add credibility to their book.

WHAT?! Once again, are you fucking kidding ME? A five star review off of 3 freaking chapters? Seriously, how can you possibly judge a book after only 3 chapters? And only 5 star reviews? Let me pick out the line that actually made me choke. “We want 5 good reviews for each author to help add credibility to their book.” Oh my Lord. Credibility? Add CREDIBILITY? You people are doing just the opposite. Not only does this practice rob that book of ANY credibility, it also undermines the whole damned system. How dare you? Who do you think you are? This practice is so slimy and underhanded, not to mention it violates all the rules of reviews and Amazon. Thank God none of my friends are part of this group or use this practice. I think I would block them just on principle.

Something else I see among a large portion of the indie scene is this strange attitude that by supporting other indies, ALL indies, you are helping yourself. Well let me tell you this, you most certainly are not. The need to only read indie books is fine, it’s your prerogative. But the people who give each other inflated reviews, thinking it will somehow help them? You couldn’t be more wrong. Not only are you contributing to the death of anything meaningful or trustworthy about the review system, you are also harming yourself. If you post a bogus review and I buy that book only to discover it’s the worst pile of shit ever published, not only do I doubt your credibility, I also doubt your own ability to write. You have just ensured that I will never buy one of your books. I mean, really! If you thought that pile of offal was worthy of 5 stars, your own skills probably aren’t that great. I will admit that some of the reviews on my book are from friends. Sure. They are entitled. But I have just as many 3 and 4 stars from people I know as 5. And those people were not paid nor even asked to review it. So stop giving false reviews to help your friends. You want to help? Be honest. Tell them it sucked. They will never improve if no one tells them what is wrong. Too cowardly to tell them? Then don’t do a review at all.

Come on indies. Let get this crap straight. By being each other’s bestfriends, you are being your own worst enemy. Don’t pay for reviews, EVER. Stay away from those silly little reindeer games that require tit for tat. And for the love of God, if you can’t give an honest, critical review? Don’t do one at all. I think most of us want this indie revolution to live up to its potential. So stop sabotaging it already and taking away whatever hard-earned respect it may have gotten. This is why I won’t identify with the term “indie”. This behavior makes everyone look bad.

I almost didn’t write this post for fear of offending my many proud “indie” friends, but I figured that the good ones would know it wasn’t directed at them and the ones who participate in these practices deserve it. There’s also the chance of this causing an indie outcry against me, but I really don’t care about that. Call me a bitch. Call me a bitter person. Call me an elitist. Call me whatever you want, but until people start behaving like the professionals they aspire to be,  just don’t call me “INDIE”.

And The Winner Is…

The Boogeyman!

Just Click Big Steve’s face above to read my review of The Boogeyman and start Stephen King month off with a blast! Make sure to check back regularly to see what horror greats like Jonathan Maberry, Joe McKinney and MANY more have to say.~C.W.

It’s Coming! Are You Ready?

 

 

 

 

It’s Coming! Once again Dark Moon Books has dedicated the month of August to Stephen King. Hop over to the LastWrites blog (Just Click big Steve’s face) starting Wednesday to read awesome reviews of some of King’s best short stories, by writers you know and love. See why we picked our stories and the impact they had on us as horror fans and writers. Check back every day to see what story I reviewed and why. Happy King Month, fellow fans!—C.W. LaSart

It’s Here! Cemetery Dance and C.W. LaSart. You don’t want to miss this!

 

 

 

It’s Finally here! Only 600 copies printed so get yours ordered now.

 

 

Bad Dreams, New Screams
a “double” chapbook featuring stories by Ray Garton, Douglas Clegg, Brian Keene, C.W. LaSart, M. Louis Dixon, and Nikki McKenzie!

Cover artwork by Ken Cain (“Bad Dreams”) and Edward Bourelle (“New Screams”)

About the Chapbook:
This special “double” chapbook includes classic tales of terror by three modern masters of horror, original fiction by the three winners of our Cemetery Dance Forum’s short fiction contest, and original color cover artwork by Ken Cain and Edward Bourelle that were chosen by the members of our forum. Featuring more than 11,000 words of horror fiction, this is one of the biggest chapbooks we’ve ever published!

Table of Contents:
“A Date with Maggie” by Ray Garton
“The American” by Douglas Clegg
“The Ghosts of Monsters” by Brian Keene
“Dr. Johnson’s Patient” by C.W. LaSart
“The Wings of a Fly” by M. Louis Dixon
“Meat Socks” by Nikki McKenzie

Note from the Publisher:
This chapbook has a color cover like Sepsis by Graham Masterton, Wetware by Kevin Quigley, or Blood Splattered and Politically Incorrect and is not part of the promotional chapbook line.

Published as:
• Limited Edition chapbook with a color cover limited to just 600 unsigned copies ($10)

So there you have it. Your chance to own one of only 600 copies of this special book that includes the story that earned my way into the Horror Writer’s Association. Just click the top picture and it will take you to the only place that you can order this. I hope you enjoy it!—C.W. LaSart

 

THE WICKED Reminds Me Of Why I Loved the 80’s!

I just finished The Wicked by James Newman and it was amazing! Before we get into that though, I want to make a quick statement. This is not a review site. Please don’t barrage me with emails requesting a review of your book. I’m a reader like everyone else, but I read what I want and if it happens to really make me happy, I will do a little review of it. I have no intention of making this a regular part of my blog. Thank you for understanding!

I came across this book after seeing the link posted on facebook by a friend. I’m a huge fan of Shock Totem and the people who run it, so when I saw that they were publishing their first novel, I was very excited. But when I read the description and saw the lovingly rendered, slightly cheesy, 80’s style cover, I knew I had to read it.

Growing up in the 80’s was an interesting thing. There are many parts of my childhood that still make me cringe. The fashion was awful, the music could’ve been better (but I still love it) and don’t get me started on yuppies. But when I look back at those times, I can honestly say that I grew up in the golden age of horror. The films that they are remaking at a startling pace, were all born in the 80’s when horror wasn’t just more popular than ever, it was also a hell of a lot of fun. Horror didn’t take itself too seriously back then and that was okay. It was a great time. A chance to lose yourself in the fantasy and not spend too much energy investigating every nuance of the story. Books were no different. The stories could be unrealistic, or weird, or just plain ridiculous without ridicule. Bookstores even had whole horror sections back then, and I was never left wanting when I went shopping for books. So many great (and not so great, but I liked them as well) authors were taking us to hell and back. Those times are gone now and I miss them. I will proudly admit to being a child of that era. It made me who I am, and made me want to be a writer in the first place.

Back to The Wicked. I won’t be giving any spoilers here, but I just have to say that Mr. Newman really nailed it with this novel. The characters were great, the setting creepy and the premise a classic. Newman pays homage to the quintessential “possessed town” story, with a presence that could only be born of a true love of that decade. I was swallowed up by the story immediately, and loathe to put the book down once I started. I hated for the book to end, but I was amused by the afterword and felt instant kinship with the author. He gets it. He feels the same way I do about those old 80’s horror novels. I won’t say anymore here, except that I HIGHLY recommend this read to ALL horror fans. Especially those who, like me, feel nostalgic for what was the most prolific decade of horror. I can’t say enough good things about this novel, but I will let you read it for yourself!

Kudos to James Newman, K. Allen Wood, and all the crew at Shock Totem. You picked one HELL of a first novel to publish. Many thanks to you all for sharing this with the world, and bringing me back, if just momentarily, to one of the best times of my life.—C.W.

I Don’t Give A Rat’s Ass About Twilight, and Why You Shouldn’t Either!

I belong to many writers’ groups on facebook. Too many groups, too many pages, and too many discussions. All of them are horror related and I have met many great friends through these virtual watering holes. Each group is different in its own way, but there are two constants I can always rely on. One is drama. Some groups have it only periodically and others seem to thrive on it. The other thing is Twilight. Or rather, fights about Twilight. I could go on for countless hours about the drama. Though I generally try to steer clear, I have been sucked in to online arguments on occasion. Even a few about Twilight. Today though, I would like to tell you why Twilight and its sparkling vampires doesn’t really bother me. And why they shouldn’t bother you either.

I doubt anyone would argue with me when I say that it has become quite trendy to hate Twilight. You can’t go anywhere on facebook without seeing several memes about how real vampires don’t sparkle and what other vampires think of Edward. Hang out in any writer’s forum for five minutes and there will be a fight about whether or not Stephanie Meyers should be burned at the stake. These are facts. Don’t believe me? Google it. I’ll wait…

Now I’m not saying that these people don’t genuinely dislike Twilight, nor am I saying they are wrong to dislike the books and/or movies. Opinion is never right or wrong. It’s subjective. We all have an opinion on most things, and don’t forget what dear old granddad always told you about opinions… My question is, why the hate? I’m sure there are a great many writers that you don’t care for, but you don’t dedicate the time and energy to creating memes about it. Or spending hours of your time arguing about their works. What is it about Twilight that people hate so much? When asked this question, most of the answers I get are Meyer is a hack. She doesn’t deserve the attention!” “Vampires don’t sparkle, that’s stupid!” “She’s ruining horror!” and my favoriteKids these days are being dumbed down by that garbage!” While I can’t argue anyone’s opinion about her writing skills or whether vampires should sparkle or not, I can say with some certainty that Ms. Meyer is not the one responsible for the short attention spans and lack of reading comprehension in today’s youth. You are currently partaking in part of the problem with that. Yep! I blame the internet. And other things, but that is another post.

None of the reasons I’m given by the serious haters strike me as genuine. They may think they are, but I will tell you right now why she gets the hate. She’s popular. She’s selling books. She’s making money. Push a hater hard enough, and they will almost always say, “I can write circles around her. I don’t know why she’s so famous with the crap she writes.” I’m not going to point out what this statement suggests. I think we all know. Nor am I saying that everyone who dislikes Twilight feels this way. Of course not. Many simply say that they don’t enjoy the series and leave it at that. I’m talking about the ones that scream the longest and the loudest. Methinks thou dost protest too much…

I ask you all this: What’s the big deal? Why do you even care? How has Meyer affected you? Because Twilight is everywhere? That’s true of all pop culture. Because you don’t like her writing? Don’t read it. There are a great many writers I don’t enjoy. I don’t buy their books. It works for me. Has she done anything to take away from you or harm your career? I seriously doubt it. One person’s success in the writing industry has little to no impact on another’s. The truth is, she has done nothing to you nor anything to deserve your vitriol. She wasn’t even writing the series for you. She has a targeted audience that loves her books. Who cares? It’s very unprofessional of authors to openly attack one another’s work. It makes you look jealous and juvenile. It also makes other authors not trust you and worse, you run the risk of alienating a whole group of potential fans (yes, I know many who read both Twilight and standard horror).

I will leave you with this, though it is up to you whether you spend all that time and energy on hating someone you don’t even know, wouldn’t you be better served by writing and making yourself successful? And the way the Twilight fans react to criticism? I want you hardcore horror fans to think about how pissed YOU get when those uppity, literary nerds trash Stephen King and say his writing is worthless to society. What you are doing is no better. So spend your time and energy wisely, try not to hate anyone, and leave those poor Twi-hards alone. They aren’t hurting anyone. Cheers!—C.W.

 

Too Tired To Read? I Will Read It To You!

Hey Friends! Just a quick post today to remind you that I did a live reading of The Hand That Feeds at the World Horror Convention in March. It’s in two parts and takes roughly half an hour to listen to. Enjoy! Part One: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4yV4hLNXGY&feature=g-upl Part Two: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZYzv_s0WaU&feature=relmfu

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